Notes of a Native Son Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. In the essay entitled Everybody's Protest Novel, why does Baldwin use the first person narrative perspective?

Baldwin uses the first person narrative perspective to establish the essay format and so that the reader knows the opinions are those of the author. Moreover, the first person narrative perspective makes the writing more conversational than academic.

2. Why does Baldwin use the theme of racial prejudice to set the topic and tone for Notes of a Native Son?

Baldwin sets the topic and tone of the essay because it is his contention that a writer can do justice only to the topics with which he is familiar and have experienced. He also sets himself up as an expert on the theme.

3. Describe Baldwin's tone in Everybody's Protest Novel.

Baldwin's tone throughout the chapter entitled Everybody's Protest Novel is one of great anger against novels such as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Richard Wright's Native Son because of their unrealistic portrayal of the black man. He is also angered at the racial prejudice that permeates throughout these two books.

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